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Tonkinese Cat

An endearing oriental blend, the Tonkinese is a sociable and mischievous companion. 

The Tonkinese as a breed were developed as a cross between two Thai beauties, the Siamese and the Burmese.

They have a variety of colours including cream, tortoiseshell, brown, pale beige, silver, and blue. They can have colour points, like the Siamese or more solid colouration like the Burmese.


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Cat Breed Facts & Characteristics


Thailand, cross between a Siamese and a Burmese


20 to 30cms,  3 to 5.5kgs

Weight Range

3 to 5.5kgs


Points and solid colours – brown, beige, platinum, blue 

Life expectancy

12 to 18 years 


Soft and short, minimal grooming required 


Vocal, affectionate, playful

Exercise requirements

Medium, enjoy playing, very sociable 

Best suited for 

Households with time to give them plenty of company

Apartment Friendly



Tonkinese are famous for their outgoing personalities and love of human company. They make a great choice for families with children and tend to get along well with other pets. If left alone they may get lonely and become destructive. Tonkinese are talkers! Bear this in mind if you prefer a quiet companion or live in an apartment complex. Playing and climbing are pastimes that Tonkinese cats love well into adulthood, so make sure you’ve got plenty of cat toys available and get ready to enjoy play time with your Tonkinese. Keep your Tonkinese safe by housing them indoors or in a suitable cat friendly enclosure.


The coat is short and easy to maintain. They don’t need a lot of grooming, but gentle, regular brushing or cat grooming glove helps to remove shedding fur. Keeping up with yearlong parasite control will help keep your Tonkinese tick and flea free.  


When choosing a food for your Tonkinese, select a premium food appropriate to your cats age and life stage. Follow the recommended feeding guides on the food appropriate to your pet's size to help avoid obesity and ensure your fur baby gets appropriate nutrition. Always ensure your Tonkinese cat has a constant supply of fresh water available and consider providing them with a water fountain, as many cats prefer to drink moving water.

Common Health Concerns 

According to PetSure data from 2019, the five most common reasons for a Tonkinese cat to visit the vet (excluding for routine visits like vaccinations) are as follows:  



Average cost for single treatment
(average pet insurance claim amount)

Highest cost for single treatment (highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition)


Traumatic accident – including cat fight abscess and broken bones




Gastrointestinal disease




Respiratory conditions – including feline asthma, respiratory tract infections




Pancreatic disease




Eye conditions – such as uveitis, corneal ulcers and conjunctivitis



Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider.

Digestive problems including vomiting, diarrhoea and pancreatitis are common in the Tonkinese. Pancreatitis can be a life-threatening disease and can become a chronic problem in many cats.

Most popular Tonkinese names

According to PetSure data from 2019, the post popular names for Tonkinese cats were:

  1. Bear
  2. Leroy
  3. Monty
  4. Ruby
  5. Albert
  6. Bindi
  7. Charlie
  8. Cookie
  9. Dusty
  10. Felix 

Most popular female names

  1. Ruby
  2. Bindi
  3. Lexi
  4. Luna
  5. Maya
  6. Mimi
  7. Minnie
  8. Piper
  9. Rosie

Most popular male names

  1. Bear
  2. Leroy
  3. Monty
  4. Albert
  5. Charlie
  6. Cookie
  7. Dusty
  8. Felix
  9. Jasper
  10. Luca

Did you know?

Tonkinese was originally spelled “Tonkanese”. This was changed in 1971 to Tonkinese, after the Bay of Tonkin in Vietnam, although neither the Siamese nor Burmese were from Vietnam. 

Where can I get a Tonkinese cat?

Your local animal shelter or rescue organisation is the best place to look for a cat as shelters generally have many cats looking for loving homes. It may be possible to find a Tonkinese through a breed specific rescue. 


  1. The Cat Fanciers Association, The Tonkinese, Accessed on 17/11/20
  2. Wikipedia, Tonkinese cat, Accessed on 17/11/20
  3. Cattime.com, Tonkinese Accessed on 17/11/20

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Kylie Mitchell is a veterinarian with over 17 years experience in animal health and welfare, including in the veterinary and pet insurance industries

She has three rescue cats (Noah, Bei Bei and Meeka), four very old cockatiels and a pond-full of fish.

Kylie's pets

Bei Bei
Bei Bei